home and abroad

Sunday, September 28

I packed only the essentials,
laid them all out in front of me.
My tiny stuffed kitty, three nickels,
assorted lego pieces for protection,
fruit snacks shaped like sharks and monsters.
My small gummy worm fingers dropped
them into my baby blanket, yellow softness
and drenched in my smell.

I dashed to my dorm and threw
essentials into a plastic bag. 
Underwear, shirts, phone charger, baby blankets
still steeped in my smell, the tiny kitty too.
I had bruises etched into my collar bone
and was still bleeding between my thighs.
He'd had me for three months and no one knew.

The bundle was light and easy to
tie up on the broken stick I'd 
found in the yard. I was 
a 1930s runaway, ready to jump
into a boxcar and head to California.
I'd run to my aunt, the woman with
the same lips as me, the same
little rosebud smile and auroral eyes.

No one knew how his hand covered
my rosebud lips and stole the
glow from my eyes. No one
could see the Dahlia grin bleeding
its way to the surface of my cheeks
every time he touched me. 
It was time to run.

I slung the stick across my shoulder
and marched to the end of my driveway,
the orange September glow blazing.
Suddenly she called my name.
She started to smile as she walked to me 
but saw my determined brow and faltered.
Oh Emma, I'd never let you leave home, baby.
You'll always have my arms to hold.

I drove into the November chill and
called the woman whose arms 
were always there even
when I pushed away the most.
Three hours and I'm home, mom,
I'll need a hug when I arrive.
Oh Emma, I don't want you home.
I know what you've been doing and
you're not welcome here.

We sat in the family room and ate 
cherries until our fingers smiled red.
She unpacked my bag and
wrapped me in my baby blankets.

He was sitting in the dorm room
when the key jammed its way in the lock.
He sliced my bag from my hands.
He ripped my baby blankets. 

via *


Monday, September 22

It's dark when he goes to work,
darker still as he idles in his truck
outside of his own house, sure
he's scrubbed the smell of her sweat
out from under his nail beds.

The house sits dejected like his wife
on the edge of the bathtub,
the bottle of laxatives empty on the
counter, every inch of her
intestines scraped clean.

She can hear the truck in the garage.
The business trip was longer than usual,
longer time out from under his prying eyes.
His nose was once so perfect
and now it turns up at her, shoves her.

He's still in his truck, craving
alcohol he's never even had.
He craves the son he never had.
She was always so thin,
those birthing hips no use to him.

The truck engine cuts at last and
the shaking house is silent.
The words on the post card meant
for her husband are loud as ever,
a pretty script unlike his wife's.

She stands, stares at her broken
frame in the mirror and sees that
despite all efforts, the fat on her
stomach will not dissolve.
For two months that fat has grown.

The hallway is tighter than usual
as his form bombards towards the bathroom.
He pounds until his wife appears,
hands him the crumpled card from
the woman he hides in Colorado.

She tosses more words over her shoulder.
I'm pregnant.

via *


Sunday, September 14

Keep the boys away, Emma Jane,
you must know what you do to them.
My mother's fears of boys
eating up my smiles,
feeling my calve muscles
curve under their touch as
they ease my legs apart,
are borne from her self-loathing.
She's told me I'm unwanted.
She's told me I saved her
from becoming Sylvia Plath.
And yet I mortify her,
I keep her tossing all night long.

She hates knowing they've touched me.
She hates knowing I liked it.
She remembers me in my tiny
underwear, sticky little thighs
glued to the couch with
popsicle juice and messy toddler fingers.
She watched Jurassic Park with me
every day as I helped myself
to sliced hot dogs and macaroni
and she helped herself to slices
of Sam Neill. Imagined him
lowering his aviators and freeing
her from my tyrannosaurus father.
Imagined his dew-drop blue eyes feasting
on her flesh as I ceased
to exist in reality, a virtual
dream like the dinosaurs on the screen.

But I never went away.
My hair grew long like she
liked it and I chopped it off.
She stopped buying my underwear
as they lost their cotton to
make room for the lace. She saw
her doll leaving her, no longer
begging for Jurassic Park. No
more Sam to feed her insecurities
and fantasies, just the rumble
of water in a glass as my father
boomed home at night. Until.
A snowy day. A quiet theater,
solace amid a manic film festival.
She felt her hips fill the seat, cursed
herself for eating for the first time in days.
She touched her hair, cursed the frizz
that never tamed like her daughter's did.
She brushed her nose as she stood,
for fuck's sake why is it so big?!
And then he was there. Just behind my aunt,
dew-drops gleaming, smile wide as ever.
My mother's face flushed,
her thighs ached as they clenched
where she stood. He passed. Continued walking.

My aunt chuckled, swore he was looking at her.
My mother, breathless, swears it was at her.
But her hair is hideous, after all. Her nose enormous.
And those goddamn hips must take up
the entire theater. How could she
let herself out in public, she thinks.
How could she have imagined
his hands on her worthless breasts?
That night she comes home and
throws my training bras away.
She watches my growing hourglass dance
and knows that boys will fuck me.
The Xanax is extra sweet that night.

via *

easy girl

Saturday, September 13

It gets easier not to pick at your nails,
the incessant pluck flick pluck

It gets easier to shut your eyes at night
without checking for bodies in your closet.

It gets easier to listen to those songs
again, the songs imbedded with evil.

It gets easier making friends who 
understand writing and withhold judgment. 

It gets easier to ease words out
of your brain the more you write.

It gets easier to admit the word rape
even with the acid it leaves in your mouth.

via *


Monday, September 8

The shades were drawn and yet we held onto
the light that seemed to clamber through the dark
veils we had closed so suddenly. And yet
we stood, faces reaching for drops of sun.

via *